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Poetry (1900-1945) > War Poets

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Hayley (Hayleypoo) | 2 comments Hello all

Just wanted to see if anybody else enjoys war poetry as much as I do. Any fans of Owen, Sassoon, Robert Graves, Rupert Brooke, etc?


Ivan | 500 comments I just read a novel by Alan Hollinghurst called The Stranger's Child which was all about a WWI poet and the impact his life and poetry had on one particular family and the 20th century. You may want to check it out. It's long, I loved the first 400 pages but my interest started to flag during the last 150. Still, it made quite an impact, and what I liked I REALLY liked.

Hayley (Hayleypoo) | 2 comments Ooh I definitely would like to read this as I've enjoyed Hollinghurst in the past. Thanks for the tip!

Jan C (woeisme) | 939 comments I've only read selections of Owen, Sassoon and Brooke in a poetry anthology but I've like what I've seen.

I haven't come across any collections.

I've read and have a couple of books by Graves, but not poetry. I also have a biography of him, written by his son, Robert Graves: The Assault Heroic, 1895-1926 - Richard Perceval Graves.

message 5: by Ivan (last edited Jul 31, 2011 03:53PM) (new)

Ivan | 500 comments A E. Housman: The Scholar-Poet by Richard Perceval Graves is also quite good (and same author).

Serious Pleasures: The Life of Stephen Tennant - Philip Hoare talks about Tennant's long term partner Sassoon. This last I've only read parts of.

The actually poetry of these men I've only glanced at; I need to look at them more seriously.

Jan C (woeisme) | 939 comments I've been looking for Serious Pleasures for quite a while - ever since its first meniton in this group - and I can't find it anywhere. I guess I could try the library, if all else fails.

Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) | 195 comments In Flanders Fields

by John McCrae, May 1915
Poppies (┬ę

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

This is one of the most recognized poems of WWI. It was written by Major John McCrae, a physician who saw his friend killed at the second Battle of Ypres. I don't know if McCrae wrote other works but this one gained him his place in history.

Ivan | 500 comments For The Fallen

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

by Laurence Binyon

Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) | 195 comments Joyce Kilmer  Memoir and Poems by Joyce Kilmer by Joyce Kilmer Joyce Kilmer

Although he is best remembered for his poem "Trees", Kilmer was a popular and prolific poet and essayist prior to and during the Great War. A member of the Fighting 69th, he was killed at the Second Battle of the Marne in 1918 and is buried in the American Cemetery in France.

Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) | 195 comments Here is a web site that covers the major British WWI poets.

Bronwyn (nzfriend) | 464 comments I haven't read any war poetry (I'm not really a fan of poetry overall), but from what I understand L. M. Montgomery used John McCrae as a basis for Walter Blythe's story in Rilla of Ingleside. He becomes famous for a poem he wrote that is much like In Flander's Fields.

Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) | 195 comments Thanks for that bit of information, Bronwyn....interesting.

Amalie  | 38 comments I love Wilfred Owen! I love the closing of the "Strange Meeting". It has such a close connotation to Thomas Hardy's "The Man He Killed". Such a talented and promising poet. The wars always get the best. Sad.

It seemed that out of the battle I escaped
Down some profound dull tunnel, long since scooped
Through granites which Titanic wars had groined.
Yet also there encumbered sleepers groaned,
Too fast in thought or death to be bestirred.
Then, as I probed them, one sprang up, and stared
With piteous recognition in fixed eyes,
Lifting distressful hands as if to bless.
And by his smile, I knew that sullen hall;
By his dead smile, I knew we stood in Hell.
With a thousand fears that vision's face was grained;
Yet no blood reached there from the upper ground,
And no guns thumped, or down the flues made moan.
"Strange, friend," I said, "Here is no cause to mourn."
"None," said the other, "Save the undone years,
The hopelessness. Whatever hope is yours,
Was my life also; I went hunting wild
After the wildest beauty in the world,
Which lies not calm in eyes, or braided hair,
But mocks the steady running of the hour,
And if it grieves, grieves richlier than here.
For by my glee might many men have laughed,
And of my weeping something has been left,
Which must die now. I mean the truth untold,
The pity of war, the pity war distilled.
Now men will go content with what we spoiled.
Or, discontent, boil bloody, and be spilled.
They will be swift with swiftness of the tigress,
None will break ranks, though nations trek from progress.
Courage was mine, and I had mystery;
Wisdom was mine, and I had mastery;
To miss the march of this retreating world
Into vain citadels that are not walled.
Then, when much blood had clogged their chariot-wheels
I would go up and wash them from sweet wells,
Even with truths that lie too deep for taint.
I would have poured my spirit without stint
But not through wounds; not on the cess of war.
Foreheads of men have bled where no wounds were.
I am the enemy you killed, my friend.
I knew you in this dark; for so you frowned
Yesterday through me as you jabbed and killed.
I parried; but my hands were loath and cold.
Let us sleep now . . ."

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